Thursday, 15 November 2007

Take a moment to re-boot

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Ever notice how sometimes your computer slows down to a snail's pace and all it takes is a quick click on the 'restart' button to get it going again? The forces that are slowing down your computer are like the stress that slows you down. Stress can wreak havoc on every aspect of your life--your diet, your sleeping patterns, your relationships--so if you're under stress it's important to take a few moments every day to 're-boot' and wipe stress away, even if it's only temporarily.

And according to Everyday Health, it only takes one minute to reduce stress. Every day, take just one minute to sit and do nothing, whether it's at your desk, in your car or outside in the front yard. Make sure there are no distracting noises, and it's essential that you do nothing -- no cooking, no organizing, no talking, no emails. It won't completely erase stress from you're life, but it;s a start and you'll feel much better afterwards.

Another thing that can help both you an your computer? Take a day you get organized -- it might seem frustrating when you're at it, but it will make everything go smoother.

Breakfast of Dieties

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Pancakes are pretty much off limits if you're trying to eat healthy. Sure, you can tinker around with the ingredients to make them less high in fast-digesting carbs and take measures to reduce calories, but the end result is usually a pretty flat tasting pancake (pun completely intended). But, is there a pancake out there that somehow rises above the issue of personal health? If there is, it has to be the Jesus Pancake.

Ending with a winning bid on eBay of $338, a pancake that allegedly had the visage of Jesus Christ mysteriously imprinted on it was sold by a Florida woman earlier today. Oddly enough, this is not the first time a Jesus pancake has been up for sale on the popular internet auction site. Last year, an Ohio man fetched bids up to $14,999.00 before eBay officials removed it from the site against allegations of fraud.

It turns out that the Ohio man's pancake savior may have actually been a money-making scheme by the seller. Some speculate that the entire incident may have been even more duplicitous; a promotional prank thought up by the makers of -- get this -- the Jesus Frying Pan. I swear to God (who himself has yet to appear on breakfast food), there is an actual pan you can purchase that imprints the image of Jesus onto your food.

In a related story, I'm going to eat an entire pizza tomorrow morning after I claim to see Buddha in the pepperoni.

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Life Fit Chat with Laura Lewis: Games to get you moving this Thanksgiving

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Life Fit Chat with That's Fit Life Fit Expert Laura Lewis brings conversation provoking tidbits to your table, served up with a touch of spice! Byte-sized information that pack some punch, brought to you every Wednesday and Thursday!

Thanksgiving is often a time of feasting and then crashing in front of the TV to watch football. Instead of watching TV this thanksgiving ... go outside and play! Not only will the activity be good for you, but you will also find that playing with your friends and family is really so much more valuable than parking yourself on the sofa (although, I know that can be nice too!). Okay, so you like the idea ... but what should we play? Glad you asked!

Fun Games For A Fit Thanksgiving
  1. Instead of watching football get the family together and play a game of flag football.
  2. Frisbie ... This simple game is fun for everyone of every skill level. And, is sure to provide lots of laughs!
  3. Croquet ... The quintessential lawn game. Surely, the pilgrims brought their croquet to the new land!
  4. Bocce ... This Italian lawn game is the equivalent of duckpin bowling meets croquet. This game is played with only two to four players, so if you can't rally a crowd you can still go outside and get your game on.
  5. Giant Pick Up Sticks ... The rules have not changed since you played the inside version of this game. Pick up each of the 31 sticks without moving any others ... the person with the most sticks wins! This is a great game to play with children.
  6. If you want to burn some serious calories, soccer is the sport to play. One good competitive game of this sport, and you can easily justify an additional slice of pumpkin pie!
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Daily Fit Tip: Volunteer

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Every now and then, my mum signs us up to work at a local soup kitchen. We spend about three hours there, running food back and forth, cleaning tables and enjoying the company of both those volunteering and those eating. And once it's all over and we've hung up our aprons, we're exhausted--hours of constant walking and lifting will do that to a person. But we feel satisfied and thankful too.

Volunteering isn't about getting fit, but if you can burn calories while doing something good for the community, why not?
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Fit Beauty: Looking after your skin during the harsh winter months

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During the summer months plenty of lecturing goes on about looking after your skin by wearing an SPF lotion and drinking lots of water to stay hydrated. The result, for most of us, is that we look pretty darn good all summer. Later on when the plummeting temperatures and harsh winds of winter settle in, many of us aren't so well prepared and spend months suffering with chapped lips and dry skin. I know that by February my legs start to take on the appearance of a scaly fish, and are also often itchy and sore.

There is no reason, however, why your skin can't look as good in the winter as it does in the summer -- as long as you're prepared to look after it, that is. This piece recommends concentrating on what you put in your body, as what you eat will be reflected by how you look on the outside. According to the article, a diet full of fish, beans, nuts, whole grains, leafy green veggies and flax seed oil (which is full of Omega-3 fatty acids), will help ensure your face -- and the rest of your body -- continues to look fresh during weeks of nasty weather.

Naturally though, there are a number of ways to take care of you skin that have nothing to do with what you're eating. Some of the tips on winter skincare listed here include:

Continue reading Fit Beauty: Looking after your skin during the harsh winter months

Need-to-know knee news

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More than two-thirds of the half-million Americans who have knee replacement surgery every year are women, according to the November 1 issue of Ladies Home Journal. In the next 25 years, as baby boomers continue to age, that number is expected to increase by 673 percent. Ouch.

Check out these facts: Young female athletes are more likely than men to injure their knee-stabilizing anterior cruciate ligaments. Women with wider pelvises have the least stable knees. And more than two-thirds of people with osteoarthritis, which leads to knee pain, are women.

What's a woman to do? If your pain has already begun, look into physical therapy and prescription and over-the-counter medications to alleviate discomfort. For prevention, you can identify fitness activities that support the knees. To get you started, here are some sample good-for-the-knees exercises.

Good diet lowers risk of future memory problems

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In a new report in the medical journal Neurology, it was again suggested that a diet rich in fish, omega-3 oils, fruits, and vegetables will most likely lower your future risk of dementia.

This is not the first time we've heard a conclusion like this, and it won't be the last. There is so much overwhelming evidence showing that fresh fruits and veggies, combined with healthy oils and minerals, are really the gateway to excellent health.

Yes, those healthy foods may not taste as good as chemically-enhanced cheeseburger and fried foods, but the healthy rewards you'll reap are far more important.

What's your arch type?

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Do you know what kind of arch you have? Want to find out? Just dip your foot in water and step on a paper bag. Then look closely at your footprint.

If you're flat-footed or have a low arch, you'll see your entire footprint. If you have a high arch, you'll see a thin line between the ball and heel print. If you have a neutral or normal arch, your print will look like a half moon.

So what's your type? Whatever it is, make sure you use this information next time you go shopping for the perfect workout shoe. Different shoes support different arches -- so be sure to find the shoe that's just right for you.

Shopping mall signs encourage the stairs

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I don't take the stairs much in shopping malls -- my kids beg to ride on the escalators. The novelty will wear off someday, but I hope it doesn't too soon. Yet researchers at a London shopping mall have figured out a way to entice shoppers to choose the stairs over the escalator. It all came down to a healthy message.

Shoppers were greeted with colorful signs mounted on staircase steps reading, "Attention all shoppers: taking the stairs protects your heart." Over six weeks, use of a stairway located next to an escalator went from 4 percent before the signs, to nearly 10 percent after posting. Interestingly, 25 percent more people walked down the stairs as well, even though they couldn't see the signs. How about the additional upper body benefits of hauling those shopping bags?

Don't underestimate the power of stairs on your health. The researchers estimate seven minutes of stair climbing each day can reduce your risk of developing heart disease by 60 percent. Your desk job does not need to sabotage your fitness levels if there are stairways nearby.

The perfect shoe for you

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If your workout shoe doesn't fit right, then your workout won't feel right. Get a good shoe and you'll have solid footing for all of your exercise needs. What determines a good shoe? Try these six things on for size.

Anchor For Your Ankle

The area around your ankle, called the anchor collar, should be heavily padded to prevent twists and blisters.

The Deal For Your Heel

Go for a snug fit around your heel and a high Achilles notch, the slight dip at the top of the shoe's heel, to support your foot and prevent it from sliding forward.

Continue reading The perfect shoe for you

Eat like you're Mediterranean, live longer

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It's been said that drinking moderate amounts of red wine and using olive oil to cook those foods would lead many of us to a longer life. Scientists this week again reiterated that this 'Mediterranean Diet' is filled with great ingredients, some of which have been found to increased the lifespan are -- are you ready -- yeast.

While yeast and that animal known as a human being are quite different from the surface, both creatures share many genes, believe it or not.

This newer research has led some scientists to speculate that the specific combination of foods from the Mediterranean area could translate into more longevity for humans -- just like in yeast.

Jennifer Garner's latest cause: The flu shot

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Award-winning actress and tabloid target Jennifer Garner is supporting the new cause -- the flu shot. She's recently joined the American Lung Association's Faces of Influenza education campaign as the national spokeswoman, and she's speaking out on the importance of getting your flu shot. Lois and Clark actor Dean Cain is also promoting the cause.

Garner, 35, says "One in three children get influenza, and more than 100 children die every year from this disease -- these are facts that no mother or parent wants to hear."

Have you had your flu shot? If you have frequent contact with children or senior citizens, it's a must. And it's not too late to get it, though sooner is better.

Do your supplements really have what's on the label?

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Those bargain-basement vitamins and supplements from the local supermarket may be filled with a bunch of cheap filler ingredients and may also have different amounts of some substances that vary from the stated label amounts. Surprised? Shouldn't be. Real supplements with real ingredients and efficacy aren't sold for $6.99.

The USP (United States Pharmacopeia) rates and measures the component amounts in many supplements to ensure compliance with stated labels, so always look for the "USP" label on those supplement bottles.

It never hurts to do research on the supplement manufacturer as well. Ask questions, get medical data and ingredient sources and other types of information before making a decision on supplement regimen. Remember, it's your health.

The NFL Sunday pizza trick

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As a follow-up to Martha Edwards' post about how to avoid the football flubber, here's one more very useful trick that relates to a very common NFL Sunday situation.

Everyone has decided to order pizza from Domino's, and you're already salivating like Pavlov's dog at the mere thought of the taste. But, at the same time, you've been working very hard to lose some weight and you know that eating eight pieces of pizza certainly will not help in that effort. What do you do when faced with this dilemma?

Don't throw in for the pizza. You state that you don't want any pizza, which therefore makes you exempt from having to kick in money. Then, once the pizza has arrived and all your buddies are devouring it like a pack of hungry wolves, you have to grin and bear your way through the next fifteen minutes. At this point, there will almost invariably be several uneaten pieces still sitting in the delivery boxes.

9 out of 10 times, your buddies will offer you one of those pieces. You'll contest that you didn't pay and that it wouldn't be right, but hey, they're already full and it's only one piece. So, you eat it. But, heaven forbid you go for a SECOND piece!! Forget it, they'll be all over you, regardless of the fact that there are about seven more slices left that will most likely make their way into the trash. Knowing this, and acting accordingly, you're decision not only landed you a free piece of pizza, but it also saved you from blowing your diet completely.

Which superhero are you?

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Let's pretend for a second that superheroes are real. Better still, let's pretend that you could be a superhero. Which would you be? Would you want super strength? Lightning speed? Be able to talk to aardvarks (I don't know ... maybe someone would want this power)? Or, what if the superhero you became was based on the person you already are?

That's the fun concept behind the website Which Superhero Are You? Answering such questions as "Are you very comfortable with your physique?", "Do you like to wear capes?", "Are you a fast runner?" and "Do you ever wear a push-up bra?" ends with a calculation of sorts, explaining which superhero you are most like.

While I would have thought it would have been cooler to be Batman, I ended up being more like Spider Man. Great, I'm the geek superhero. Maybe I should start wearing capes.

Your results:
You are Spider-Man
The Flash
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.
Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Add some lemon to that green tea to make it healthier

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If you're into sweeteners that aren't full of chemicals or calories, you have probably heard of agave nectar and stevia. While most of Western medical society speaks out against these healthy sweeteners, they're not always convenient in a pinch.

But one sweetener is -- citrus juice. In fact, I'll say that water with a few lemon wedges is a staple of what I drink with almost every meal. Water comes alive with some flavor if you squeeze some fresh lemon juice in it.

But lemon juice can be used to actually enhance tea as well, according to new research. It was found that citrus juices enable more of green tea's unique antioxidants to remain -- meaning that green tea can be better with lemon or lime juice that just being consumed alone.

Exercise may compliment antidepressants

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A few of us here at That's Fit have talked about the damaging effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), referencing such treatments as light therapy and antidepressant medications. What researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Stokholm have also found is that exercise can be almost just as effective a form of treatment as those mentioned.

Exercise, similarly to antidepreessants, increases the formation of cells in the region of the brain affected by depression. This not only applies for Seasonal Affective Disorder, but for depression of almost any kind. What's more, if you are already taking antidpressants, it appears as though exercising will compliment the effects of the medication.

So, if you're feeling a little down in the dumps lately, try throwing on a pair of sweats and going for a brisk walk.

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A natural cure for bad breath? Try magnolia bark

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Bad breath is one of the worst etiquette offenders out there, and while gum helps, it sometimes only seems to cover up the problem instead of fixing it. But there's a natural way to get rid of bad breath, according to this article. Magnolia bark, a traditional Chinese treatment for ever, headache and stress, has been shown to kill 99% of bad breath-causing bacteria within 5 minutes, all without having the harmful side effects of other anti-bacterial agents.

I'm not sure where you can find this miracle cure, but don't fret--researchers are currently looking into how they can incorporate it into gums and mints that are carried at a convenience store near you.

FDA to consider 'Nutrition Facts' labeling changes

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In what has been a long time coming, the FDA said last week that it -- finally -- will be reviewing existing rules that govern the use of the "Nutrition Facts" labels sold on all processed and packaged food in the U.S.

I've been a critic of these labels for quite a long time, since the data can be manipulated (serving sizes) and cryptic to the average food shopper. In essence, you may get a small feel from these labels in terms of nutrition content, but in terms of overall nutritious profile, forget it.

The FDA may be considering removing some existing nutrients from the labels as well as reorganizing the way the information is presented. Food manufacturers will then immediately seek ways to get their information on there to may those basically dead foods seem nutritious when, in fact, the opposite is true.

A kinder, gentler tummy tuck?

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Plastic surgery ... hmmm...what's your take on it? We've all heard the horror stories about people who have gone under the knife, only to later find themselves worse off than when they started. Then again, there are also plenty of success stories, with people finding great emotional comfort with their new physical self.

Nevertheless, where there is money to be made, there will always be an entrepreneur looking to improve upon existing standards and, of course, make a few bucks in the process. Such is the case with a new procedure called Lipoabdominoplasty; a surgery that combines the tummy tuck and liposuction, while supposedly offering less pain, swelling, bruising and downtime.

Evidently, the blood vessels in the nerves remain intact with this new procedure, whereas with the traditional tummy tuck, this was not the case.

I'm not really sure where I stand on the whole plastic surgery issue, so I'll leave the opining to you guys.